In December 2014, music lovers everywhere witnessed the drop of 2014 Forest Hills Drive – the third monumental album by American rapper, J. Cole. The rapper – who grew up in North Carolina and later attended St. Johns University in New York – has experienced huge success from his latest release, but has had a growing following ever since the release of his first mixtape, The Come Up, in 2007. Since that time, his lyrics and sound have drifted to the streets, houses, and parties across the globe.

What makes him appealing to most is his down-to-earth, humble nature – palpable in his songs and interactions with fans. At the start of the year, J. Cole soaked up the sun in Portland, Jamaica, in what has been an annual trip for the past two years. Not one filled with the glitz and glamour normally attached with celebrities, but one of merinos and barefoot trips to the local beach.

His love for the impeccably charming island is evident in his adventures and lyrics in some of his songs; he expressed, “Jamaica [is] one of my favorite places to spend time.” So, it comes as no surprise that he recently teamed up with Swiss founded + internationally recognized fashion brand Bally to celebrate their recent creative collaboration and explore the less traveled paths of Jamaica. J. Cole’s collaboration with Bally’s design director – Pablo Coppola – has resulted in the creation of an exclusive collection of boots + backpacks inspired by the urban explorer, as well as a short film that follows the rapper through downtown Kingston and way up into the relaxing Blue Mountains.

*a merino is a sleeveless undershirt, known elsewhere as a wife beater

Photos Courtesy of Bally

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